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Letting team members slide on accountability is an epic fail, as Lance Loken will tell you. It cost his team $900,000 in the fourth quarter of 2019.
How did that happen?
“We’d gotten to a space where we started to allow a sliding accountability, and what we mean by that is: We hold them to a standard, and then when they don’t hit that standard, we go, ‘well that’s OK, we’ll work on that next month, and then the next month …'” the team leader of The Loken Group at Keller Williams said. Loken’s roughly 65-person team is based in Houston.
“When you hold people accountable to their standards or their goals, then you’re doing yourself a service,” he added.
In an Inman Connect Now panel moderated by Renee Funk of The Funk Collection at eXp Realty on Tuesday, team leaders shared how some of their failures have led to pivots with much more growth-oriented outcomes and gave their best advice for aspiring team leaders.
Learning the hard way
In sharing what he has learned over the years, Kris Lindahl, of Kris Lindahl Real Estate, a 350-person team based outside of Minneapolis, explained how his company had found out the hard way that they needed to create designated roles and responsibilities for individuals on the team before putting someone into that role, rather than later on shaping a role to fit the individual filling it.
We often put someone in a box or on an accountability chart because we like, love or trust them, and we didn’t actually build that box first, Lindahl said.
Funk pointed out that it can be a challenge for team leaders to balance holding team members accountable while also juggling external environmental factors that may be playing a role in how well an agent meets their goals, like factors related to the pandemic, for instance.
Leading through uncertainty
Lindahl said he thought forever that when he launched his team, things would go well. But he soon learned that failing is part of the process.
“Just embrace the failures that you’re going to have along the way,” Lindahl said. “Just [know] that there are going to be moments when you face adversity, you’re going to face challenges, and just embrace those.”
Both Lindahl and Loken said ramping up communication within the their teams and their communities played a big role for them during the pandemic in keeping team members accountable and grounded, despite the uncertainty of the pandemic.
“The more calm you can stay as a leader and the more confident you can stay as a leader, with the same vulnerability, but being real with your people and saying we don’t have all the answers, but we’ll get through this … was huge and very impactful,” Loken said.
In terms of their team’s value propositions that help them attract new team members, Loken pointed to their team’s ability to pivot quickly when necessary. Lindahl, on the other hand, said his team’s people and the community that they’ve built are what draw new people in to his brand.
The current landscape
Lindahl said he actually believes teams today are experiencing a false sense of success because of how they buy leads or work with other third parties to create leads. He’s written about the topic as an Inman contributor, saying that if you’re buying real estate leads, your business will be kaput in two years.
“I think that there’s a false sense of success going on for most real estate teams in the world today,” Lindahl said. “Very few teams are actually generating their own leads [from] within, through their own marketing department … Most of it isn’t real, they haven’t generated that business on their own.”
“Make sure that you own and control your own brand,” Lindahl added.
Loken noted that starting off by just picking up the phone is one of the easiest ways to get started with building out your database.
“We built our entire inside sales program based off of that model of picking up the phone and calling,” Loken said. “It’s not rocket science. You’ve got to pick up the phone, you’ve got to build those relationships, and then you’ve got to sustain those relationships.”